Microsoft Ready to Debut Search Engine

The search industry is abuzz as Microsoft prepares to debut its long-awaited search engine Thursday.

The company had said it planned to debut its own algorithmic search technology before year’s end, bringing the industry a third major player behind Google and Yahoo To that end, Microsoft has issued two separate preview releases to the public, at, as it prepared to formally debut the search engine.

Microsoft has long used Yahoo-owned technology — Inktomi, AltaVista and then Yahoo Search technology — to power its natural search results. It also uses paid search listings from Yahoo’s Overture. With the new in-house search engine, Microsoft is expected to drop Yahoo natural results. The Redmond-based software giant is expected to continue to distribute Overture listings, at least until their contract runs out in June 2005.

Microsoft is also working on a desktop search tool. Desktop search — which is thought to be one of the hottest areas in the sector — has already attracted interest from Google, which debuted its tool last month. A number of smaller players are also trying to make their marks on the desktop.

Interestingly, Microsoft, in dropping Yahoo Search Technology in favor of its own, is echoing what Yahoo itself did earlier this year. The portal player had long used Google technology to power algorithmic search, but dropped it after buying Inktomi, AltaVista and AlltheWeb and incorporating their technology into its own.

Erin Joyce, executive editor of, contributed to this story.

Clarification: An earlier version of this story said that Microsoft’s dropping of Yahoo Search Technology would adversely affect the distribution of Yahoo paid inclusion listings. In fact, Microsoft stopped distributing those results over the summer.

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